6 March 2017
Sunday, the Anti-corruption commission released 4 reports on its website. They relate to:
1. Six safaris hired for the SAARC Summit – the commission concluded that its investigation did not find enough evidence to prove corruption.
2. Hiring of 21 vehicles for the SAARC Summit at higher than market rates – the commission concluded that its investigation did not find enough evidence to prove corruption.
3. Security services for the SAARC summit – the commission concluded that there was no offence of corruption in the case.
4. Provision of security service to Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture – the commission concluded that there was no offence of corruption in the case.
The first three allegations relate to SAARC submit. For the submit, high level leaders from seven other countries, all bigger than the Maldives, gathered in Maldives. It is only right for the government to provide hospitality befitting the visiting leaders. One could argue that the officials should have anticipated the expenses and obtained proper quotations before awarding the service contracts. It is not possible to anticipate every possible expenditure in advance. Maldives has limited resources for such events. Delegations from different cultures will require different facilities. The commission was right in finding that these were not corruption offences.
The last case refers to 8 quotations submitted by two individuals. The commission was right in giving the benefit of doubt to the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture. It is not the Ministry’s fault that others did not come forward to bid for the contract.
The commission should not be spending its time on such minor issues but should investigate the massive corruption in politics, judiciary, local governments, public service etc. Now, many countries such as China, India and Philippines have declared war against corruption. Maldives also must follow suite to be a successful democracy.